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Welcome to All About SheepDogs

A well-trained working sheepdog is the shepherd's best friend. An obvious statement, I guess, to most folk because if a working sheepdog is properly trained it will cut the shepherd's workload and save time and, as a result, save money too.  It is not work to these animals - more of a joyful expression of what they do best.  They thrive on approval from 'the Boss'.  This in turn enables the shepherd to carry out his work with a dog he can trust and one with confidence.

In the world of shepherding a good working sheepdog can think for itself by sizing up a situation and acting upon it ..... sometimes before the shepherd has even become aware of a problem. Harnessing the it's natural hunting skill in order to please 'the Boss' is their aim.

So it follows that the bond between shepherd. dog and sheep is a deeply special one, with the dog central to the relationship with Sheep welfare of the highest importance.  Most sheepdogs have a natural instinct to herd - to a greater or lesser degree - and it is usually the handler that requires the training! It is also essential that the trainer undersands how sheep operate!

Each breed of sheep has its own idiosyncracies and the various ages of sheep is also a contributing factor.  When choosing a small flock upon which you are intoducing your new young dog, please be aware that a group of lambs or a bunch of rams is not the way forward. It is also generally accepted that the Rare breeds of sheep are not particularly suitable.  Manx Longthans can leap out of any field! But Herdwicks are good if you want Trialling sheep.  They are testing and can be bolshie but a dog that can work them is doing well. An ideal breed  to stretch the in-training dog.

As we have in the UK the largest national flock in Europe, the traditional sight of a shepherd and his dog is almost as much a part of the countryside scene as it was 50 years ago. However, the rise of the Quad Bike has - to a large extent - taken the place of some dogs but when the Quad can catch a lamb or find a ewe in a thicket then it will have 'arrrived'!

In the words of the 'bard' - "there's no good flock without a good shepherd and there's no good shepherd without a good dog".

This website has been set up to help and inform all those who would like to work with sheepdogs, There is always room for improvement and remember - no two dogs are the same. Also, no two flocks of sheep are the same either.  What may have worked for your first dog may fall apart with your second and subsequent dogs.  So, on this site you will find advice and guidance on every aspect of owning and handling a working collie  From time to time we also post news of interesting events and articles of interest about sheepdog people. There are also links to other organisations.

 If you get this far and are already fed up with reading then give me a ring instead 07703 19997823.

Although most of the site is aimed at the Border collie handler, just for good measure we include other well known breeds of working sheepdog - Kelpie, Huntaway and the Bearded Collie. Occasionally we know of litters from these breeds.

If you need further information then contact Caroline at caz.rackley@gmail.com  or call 07703 197823

We have found many people are contacting us about their badly behaved pet collies, some of which are from Rescue organisations.  We have therefore included a new section under the sheeepdogs as pets part of the Sheepdog Breeding section - some thoughts about overcoming some of the challenges that non working collies present.  People who have pet collies do not always understand the collie's strong herding instinct and and this alone can cause difficulties. It could be for some of these rebellious collies that the opportunity for them to work sheep in a controlled situation would answer a lot of their problems. A frustrated collie is a very unhappy animal.But mostllly it is too late for a collie to learn about working sheep if it has spent the first year of its life cooped up in a town house or on the end of a chain.

A problem of the countryside that is common to any dog is that of sheep worrying.  An out of control Border collie is just a lethal as any other breed. Handlers must keep their dogs under control at all times when visitng the country.  Always be aware of what your dog is doing as it could be killing sheep!!

We had thought to provide some elemental training for those with Border collies but no access to sheep. After much thought we decided against the idea as apart from possibly causing more problems than curing collie boredom, we found that the people wanting to take part really did not understand sheep and my trainer was not happy! 

Please look at the Resources page for frequent new information about Trainers or books. Training a Sheep Dog, a really handy 'does what it says on the tin' approach to Training, is available - free of charge - from either the International Sheepdog Society, phone 01234 352672 www.isds.org.uk or contact me.

OR you might prefer to contact All About Sheepdogs E: c/o caz.rackley@gmail.com   T: 01934 732661    M:07703 197823

Although All About Sheepdogs is no longer offering Training, it is not difficult to find someone local to you who can help.  Just call me. There is a Training Booklet available endorsed by the ISDS - "Sheepdog Training - Guide for the new Handler".

Those of you interested in the big National Trials that are held annually in each of the Home countries with a World Trial once every three years, can obtain detailed information about where and when from the International Sheepdog Society - www.isds.org.uk

You can join this Society even if you do not own a sheepdog but you might need to know how a Trial operates - "Information for Spectators" is a handy leaflet that explains the basics.

The most important thing to remember is to ENJOY your dog but be aware that sometimes dog and handler do not like each othe; in which case you might have to reconsider.

 


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